The Roland TR-808 is the undisputed king of drum machines. No one even debates this, really. Its influence on the development of a ton of musical genres began in the 80’s and continues to this day. Now, the little beat-making-box is getting its own documentary film starring some of the foundational figures that used it.
808 features musical artists and figureheads like Rick Rubin, the Beastie Boys, Questlove, Pharrell, New Order, Afrika Bambaataa, Diplo, Damon Albarn, Strafe, Felix Da Housecat, Lil Jon, Man Parish, DJ Mr. Mixx, Hank Shocklee and more. The BBC’s Zane Lowe narrates the film that charts the rise of the musical gear and artists use and adoration of it.
It’s tough to see Afrika Bambaataa the same way these days since he’s faced some disturbing accusations but watching him behind the board recreating the landmark track “Planet Rock” keeps it focused squarely on the music. And man, it’ll be good to see The Beastie Boys.
Watch the trailer above and you can see the full film when it drops for streaming on Apple Music, December 9th.